UPDATE 6 PM ISRAEL TIME:
**In conjunction with the White House scheduling office indicating that the American Consulate in Jerusalem is in “East Jerusalem” (as reported in yesterday’s israelstreet blog), comes the news that representatives from every Israeli university have been invited by the American Embassy in Israel to be in attendance at the Jerusalem International Convention Center for President Obama’s speech on March 21st.
Representatives from every university that is except the Ariel University Center of Samaria, Israel’s newest university.
Again, just as the Obama Administration is attempting to prejudice possible “peace negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians by proclaiming the Consulate to be in East Jerusalem, so is it trying to influence negotiations by excluding students from Ariel which is in the heart of Samaria. The irony, of course, is that Ariel University has one of the highest proportions of Arab students of any university in Israel.
The international news media was at it again yesterday headlining newspapers and websites with “Palestinian Youth Killed By Israeli Soldiers Near Hebron”. The stories ran the information that Mahmoud Al-Titi, a communication and journalism student, was shot while “protesting” at the entrance to the “Palestinian refugee camp” of Fawwar just south of Hebron. They went on to report that Al-Titi was one of the founders of the Youth Movement for Released Prisoners based in Hebron.
Here is what the media did not say:
1. A convoy of IDF vehicles manned by Israeli reservists was traveling down Route 60 near the Palestinian settlement of Fawwar when it was suddenly attacked by Palestinian terrorists throwing Molotov cocktails and “rocks”.
2. The IDF soldiers pursued the terrorists who ran into the Fawwar settlement.
3. A riot ensued. The IDF contingent was violently attacked by a Palestinian mob which was throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. One of the members of the mob was Mahmoud Al-Titi, a 25 year old resident of Fawwar.
4. Completely surrounded and fearing for their lives, the IDF members opened fire. Al-Titi was hit in the upper torso; another Palestinian was shot in the stomach, and a third was hit in the leg.
5. Al-Titi was subsequently evacuated to a hospital in Hebron where he died.
In sum, the facts of this case are simple: Palestinian terrorists attacked Israeli soldiers who attempted to capture those terrorists. The soldiers came under violent attack again and sought to defend themselves. Mahmoud Al-Titi was shot because he was part of that violent mob.
Your humble servant has often lamented on this blog that the IDF rules of engagement have effectively neutered Israeli soldiers and put their lives as well as the lives of all Israelis at risk. Palestinian terrorists have come to realize that they can throw Molotov cocktails and rocks at IDF soldiers, Israeli motorists, and Jewish homes with complete impunity. And IDF soldiers have come to realize that if they do take action to defend themselves, they will likely be investigated and tried for “violating rules of engagement.”
It is an appalling and untenable situation.
One final note. True to form, the IDF general command expressed “fear” today that the shooting of Al-Titi will spark riots throughout Judea and Samaria (as if riots have not already been going on for months). Further, the IDF announced that the soldiers who fired on the mob are being investigated.
And what about the terrorists whose actions precipitated the events described above? Apparently, the IDF has stopped looking for them altogether.
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